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First off, congratulations to Nick and Rachel on the arrival of Veronica Madeline! Nick's been posting in bits and pieces, but the first photos are adorable. (:

There's no Friday Five yet (maybe later?) so I though I'd make a belated post here about Sunday night's great outing. It's kinda long and involved pictures, so I've made it an extended post. You know you appreciate it.

After sleeping in Sunday, I'd succeeded in getting my still-sleepy arse upstairs and ready to shower when Kevin, with his impeccable timing, called. He wanted to know if it was okay if he and Dave stopped by later that day, maybe before dinner, but certainly after they'd spent some quality time at Media Play. I nod, smile, and agree before getting back to what I'd been doing. Killing time with their unknown ETA, I do my usual weekend afternoon junk: read the Sunday edition of the Post, paint my toenails yet another weird color, miss Laurel since it was her weekend with her Grandma Betty.

A bit before dusk, the guys arrive and, to my surprise, brought James along. We sit around in the living room, BS and listen to Radiohead before remembering that we're missing the early showing of The Simpsons. A few minutes into Futurama, Betty arrives with Laurel and wakes her up instead of taking her out carseat and all -- a minor irritation, but she's back asleep within 20 minutes. We admit our hunger after Futurama but don't want to miss the new ep of The Simpsons, so we talk Mom into taping it if I set up the VCR.

James' chin, and the table.After finding out the hard way that the Pizza Hut in Evergreen closes at some horribly early hour on Sunday nights, we brainstorm where to go instead. I should say something about the speedbumps on Lewis Ridge Road here, but hey, when Kevin's driving it's always an adventure. We decide to hit The Phoenix, as it seems I am obligated to take every friend that treks up to the hills to visit to eat there. I think Hong Mei is starting to remember the ones I bring by more than once.

We take the back corner booth and despite my lovely non-geek dress -- hooray for 3" heeled boots and my vintage Eddie Bauer cape, I pull out the Jornada to keep track of what we're ordering. My geekness is admired, and moreso when I remember I brought the camera along. Kevin asks for the camera, and I trust him to take a decent picture. He takes several with only bits of those of us sitting to his left (my forehead, James' arm, etc.) and I only saved the one in which a significant portion of James is visible. Isn't his facial hair cute?

I take custody of the camera and in short order take a random picture of Dave (davenisosity? I need more syllables -- Kevin, James, help!) and a decent shot of James grinning.

Dave in profile. James smiling. Our teriyaki brazier.

After much consternation -- we must have taken half an hour to decide what to order other than drinks -- we decide to split an order of beef teriyaki for an appetizer and add an order of crab and cheese wontons after Hong Mei reminds us it's what I always order. (For those of you that I haven't taken to the Phoenix, my regular order of the past ten years has been beef teriyaki, crab and cheese wontons, sweet and sour chicken and a Dr. Pepper. It's not really that funny unless you've heard Hong Mei rattle it off. I love it so much when she does because it always makes me smile.) We have good convo and get kinda silly when the teriyaki arrives, wandering off on a tangent of discussing setting things on fire. Kevin chars several pieces of green pepper on the brazier and when asked what it tastes like, replies "charred pepper." When D'Evelyn comes up, James and Dave chuckle about how they made their own version of the hot dog electrocutor demoed in physics class. James remarks that they actually electrocuted a pickle.

Me: Why in God's name did you cook a pickle?
James: Because I saw a guy do it on TV.


Food arrives and we're all briefly less weird as we attempt to evenly distribute soup, kung pao chicken, moo-shi chicken, beef-fried rice, and the remainder of the wontons. Dave doesn't want to bother Hong Mei for a pair of chopsticks (you get Western utensils by default at all three of the Asian eateries in Evergreen) and decides to improvise with two skewers from the teriyaki beef. Kevin's never had moo-shi chicken before and with one pancake full of it on his plate, tenderly strokes the pancake, prompting James to say "Kevin stroking his dinner" in a narrator voice. It's funny, I take another picture, Kevin tries this chicken and remarks, "I don't like these at all, but I'll still eat them."

Dave using skewers in place of chopsticks. Kevin stroking his dinner.

Kevin: These taste like something.
James: What?
Kevin: I don't know, but they activated a memory.
James: You've been playing too much Planescape.


...later:

Kevin: I figured I'd say "wontons make me horny" so you'd quote me, but I didn't because I was afraid you'd back away.


Our fortunes, top to bottom: Dave's, Kevin's, mine, James'.The bill arrives along with fortune cookies. We distribute cookies and finish rest of what we're going to eat before opening the cookies. Before we get to the cookie opening, James remarks, "I just saw a Sim-bubble above Kevin's head and it indicated he was tired." This led into a discussion of The Sims and how Kevin should be shaking his fist at the Sim Gods until he was given sleep. We open cookies, except for Dave. I find out Dave doesn't like fortune cookies and tell Kevin he can only have Dave's cookie if he gives Dave the fortune. We share fortunes... Dave says something Dave-like I can no longer remember, Kevin thinks his means he's going to get a date, I remark that mine's a nice change from "You will get a new wardrobe soon", and James exclaims "I'm a Rubik's cube!". Kevin sticks his fortune to his lips and blows it at me, which I still don't understand.

Melissa, James and the beer sign.

I settle up the check, we discuss what we should pick up at the grocery store before heading home (mostly sugar, we have plenty of caffeine), and James randomly says he'd like to stab Kevin with something sharp and when asked why, says "no reason." We give good wishes to Hong Mei and everyone at the Phoenix, and make our way over to King Soopers with two takeout containers in tow. I make the obligatory remark about how Bergen Park Liquors gets gun for not accepting military IDs and feel sufficiently femme with half my cube in tow (again for the uninitiated, the full cube is James, Dave, Robert, Kevin, and Will... I think I'm forgetting someone... Cam? Donato? Bostwick? somebody) and clothes I love.

We straggle into the store, directing Kevin towards the bathrooms with the admonition that you can't actually lose us, especially with me around. We wander back into the Easter stuff, grossing out over some of candies and being disturbed by the cost of the Pooh-themed Easter baskets. (I wanted to get one for Laurel, but not at $30.) Kevin finds us before we hit the Easter baskets. I realize I need to get an Easter card for my favorite sailor and we all plop down in the card aisle because the religious cards are hopelessly flowery and I am NOT going to send a sailor a card with flowers and frills. We find a suitable card and pick up a bag of mini E.L. Fudge cookies for Laurel (she eats the middles mostly, but I like them too) on the way to the candy aisle. We buy a couple pounds of gummy bears and a cheap bag of Pixy Stix, reprimanding Kevin along the way for eating paper (no, I don't understand why he was) and that we did not want the same candy he did and majority rules. Overall we escape with less "these people are deranged mental patients" looks any of the 2 AM caffeine runs.

We return to my house and commandeer the living room. Laurel's nap on the way up the hill with Betty was so late that at 2130, she's wide awake and wants to play. She watches the taped episode of The Simpsons with us and parts of two newscasts (9 PM on Fox, 10 PM on NBC) before I turn the TV off. She flirts, tries a gummy bear and eventually tires enough that I run her downstairs to sleep. I come back upstairs. We consume caffeine, gummy bears -- after I get a mutated string of three joined head-to-bottom and stop eating them -- and Pixy Stix. We discuss all sorts of random stuff, including why drinking creme de menthe straight sounds disgusting. A single bottle of Indian Pale Ale is consumed. I notice the clock every so often and remark at 2300 and midnight that I should send them back down the hill since sleeping three people would mean two in the rec room and one in the living room unless we either fold the couch out in the rec room or someone takes the floor.

At 0100, Dad comes in from work and I finally shoo them out the door. I promise to promptly post the pictures, which I obviously haven't done. But I will get the character sheets from Golden Crescent Adventuring Company out and make copies for everyone. Maybe when Zack's home and I can have even more help moving boxes 'cause after all, I love all my gamers equally. A happy night was had by all and Laurel got to try and give everyone cars, so it was good.

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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